The Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace is funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. It is based in the Philosophy Department at Stockholm University and directed by Helen Frowe, who is a Wallenberg Academy Research Fellow at Stockholm.

SCEWP’s purpose is to explore the ethics of war and mechanisms for peace in the 21st century. Our research has two main strands:

Theoretical Approaches to War

This aspect of SCEWP’s research focuses on broad, theoretical issues concerning the nature of the morality of war. Historically, just war theory has been dominated by strongly collectivist approaches to war that treat war as a morally distinctive relationship between states. Adherents to this traditional view argue that, in at least some respects, war is to be judged by its own moral rules and cannot be judged by the moral rules that apply to individuals in ordinary life. For example, we might think that even when combatants are engaged in an unjust war, the fact that they are following the orders of their state makes their killings importantly morally different from unjust killings in ordinary domestic life.

In recent years, a revisionist view known as reductive individualism has challenged this collectivist approach to war. These revisionists believe that the moral rules governing war can, in fact, be reduced to the moral rules of ordinary life, and that the morality of war is to be understood in terms of the moral rights and duties of individuals – most obviously, their rights of self-defence and other-defence. This different theoretical approach to the moral underpinnings of war has undermined various central tenets of the traditional collectivist view. Research at SCEWP explores this debate and its implications for the ethics of war.

Practical Issues in War

SCEWP also carries out philosophically robust research concerning specific aspects of war and reconciliation, such as:

  • Just causes for war
  • The notion of legitimate authority
  • Civil war
  • Civilian immunity
  • Terrorism
  • The prosecution of war crimes
  • The use of UAVs (drones)
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • Force protection and the distribution of risk in war

Through a series of conferences, workshops, public lectures and other events, the Centre aims to inform and improve public and policy debates about the ethics of war.

SCEWP director Helen Frowe awarded 8.75M SEK Wallenberg Academy Fellowship extension

Helen Frowe has been awarded a five-year prolongation of her Wallenberg Academy Fellowship from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. Over the next five years, she will develop an account of the ethics of foreign intervention. The project will explore the relationship between agent-relative prerogatives and duties to save, the permissibility of wars of intervention, and the ethics of indirect intervention, such as arming and training members of rebel groups. Information about events and vacancies will appear on the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace website.

Published 4th December 2017

Ethical War Blog Post Wins Prize!

Congratulations to Michael Robillard (Oxford) and Bradley Strawser (Naval Postgraduate School) whose post “Are Soldiers Morally Exploited?” won the the American Philosophical Association’s (APA) 2017 Public Philosophy Op-Ed Contest. See here for more details.

Published 1st July 2017

SCEWP hires new post-doc!

We are delighted to announce that Benjamin Matheson will be joining the centre in September 2017. For more information about Ben’s work, see here.

Published 22nd February 2017